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A Pair Of Terror Incidents In London; Eyewitness Saw Two Assailants Wearing A Vest; At Least Two People Stabbed Insider A Borough Market Restaurant; Van Mows Down People On London Bridge; London Ambulance Transported 20 People To Local Hospitals; Guy's And St. Thomas Hospital On Lockdown. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired June 03, 2017 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:14] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. The breaking news, a pair of what London police are calling terror incidents in London overnight. One, a van appeared to intentionally mow down people on London Bridge, and then nearby, just south from the bridge in the Borough Market, assailants went into a restaurant and stabbed at least two people brutally inside that restaurant.
We are now getting our first look at some very interesting photos we want to show you right now. If we can bring up these photos, we'll show them to you as soon as we can. Pictures of what appears to be assailants on the ground. We're told -- we believe these could be the assailants on the ground. Hopefully will get those pictures to show you. There they are right there. You can see two people on the ground there, one in the forefront, one in the background of the picture wearing some kind of vest there. They are near a pub in Borough Market.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah. And Borough Market being one of the locations that police have been responding to. And just in the few hours, we know that they tell us there was a stabbing incident in Borough Market that happened shortly after the incident on the bridge. Again, new pictures just in to CNN appears police standing over two potential assailants here.
Joining us on the phone is Jack Applebee. He owns a restaurant in this same area, says he saw these two individuals what. Jack, what can you tell about us about what you witnessed?
JACK APPLEBEE, APPLEBEE'S FISH OWNER (via telephone): Oh, yes. So we were just sort of outside with a few friends and it was a little bit crazy, like people just kept running down the street and like there's one girl saying that they're stabbing everyone -- they're stabbing people. And I literally just turned back around and I've got restaurants with customers and I just said, "Everyone, to the back, to the back," by sort of trying to get there just as quick as we can. And literally, everyone just got off their sit like rush towards the back. And then it just sort of, yes, you don't really think at the time and just sort of went to go and grab the keys for the shutter and just sort of tried to put the shutter down. And I literally turn back around and there were these three men standing there, one of which with machete and they had this sort of belt on. We didn't really -- they just looked at us and I just didn't really know what to do.
Everyone was sort of at the back of the back of the restaurant and they just sort of carried on going back down towards the street and me and a colleague run to the front and we saw -- he kept lookout and I just sort of managed to get the shutter down. We just sort of let the shutter down almost sort of far as we could and it was like a moment of panic and like this shutter was sort, you know, slow as usual and we just sort of everyone got locked inside and we left the shutter down. But then when we looked -- as we looked underneath really about five minutes, everyone was at the back and which everyone is worried, like we don't know, there's still a gap in the shutter.
But about five minutes later, there were just gunshots everywhere and everyone's upstairs like still trying to keep down and we're just trying to keep everyone calm. All the staff, everyone just sort of -- everyone did really a good job honestly. It was like -- it was a moment of absolute panic.
And then for about an hour and a half, we were hiding upstairs and there's just gunshots going everywhere and what we've seen to believe might have been like suicide vest. So everyone sort of -- we put everyone in the staff room up top and everyone sort of get down and just sort of handing out water to everyone and just sort of trying to keep everyone OK. It was just crazy.
And then next thing, about an hour and a half later, police knocked on the shutter and sort of they called for me to come give them the keys to open the shutter and everyone gets sort of escorted out of there like immediately, hands on the head like running towards The Shard. It was just, yes, so crazy.
CABRERA: So, Jack, did you hear two separate times what sounded to be gunshots?
APPLEBEE (via telephone): It was more twice. I'd say it's really about six or seven times we heard gunshots going off down the street. Each time were like three or four, maybe more gunshots at a time. The first one, we probably heard about 10 to 15 gunshots.
CABRERA: And where exactly did you see these men in the vests that you described? Were they right outside your restaurant or ways away and what were they doing?
APPLEBEE (via telephone): They were literally -- well, there were two men, one of which we saw the vest on which luckily one of my colleague, he was so good, he is like that move him like such a good guy and like he was just -- he was honestly one of the heroes. And he just saw -- he just told everyone he said he saw the vest and told everyone to get back, get everyone calm. He told me what it was and we just put everyone to safety. BERMAN: Jack, I want to clear --
APPLEBEE (via telephone): He is on the floor with this what appears to be a vest and we're just worried about an explosion.
BERMAN: Jack, did it look like a suicide vest? Did it look like what you see in pictures of suicide vest? Were there wires? Were they appeared to be explosives in this vest?
[21:04:52] APPLEBEE (via telephone): No, I just saw like the big packets all around him like just sort of around his stomach really. But nothing went off and like there were police -- there were police lights all on the body making sure they don't move. Like the police seemed to do a really good job very quickly. And I don't -- I didn't see any actual casualties or injuries, like all of the customers were OK. I'm just so glad. They never came in and --
APPLEBEE (via telephone): -- we got the shutter down because if we didn't get down the shutter down when they were shooting, then they died outside the restaurant as they ran in or something. I don't know.
BERMAN: You got the shutters down.
BERMAN: The shutter is down. The screen is where the metal barricade to protect the people on the restaurant, but then they were inside for 90 minutes, what must have been harrowing minutes.
We're getting a little bit of a closer look now at a photo of what we believe to be one of the assailants on the ground there. We can see perhaps I think the vest that you were describing their, Jack. The picture of this man's face is a little blurry. Can you give us a sense of how old these individuals look? Did you get a look at both of them or just one?
BERMAN: Yes. I mean you just sort of -- there was three of them I'd say probably about 30-year-old or something. But I'm just so surprised they never actually came in. They just -- I mean they took a couple of steps in the door and at that point, everyone just sort of -- we didn't really -- we didn't know what's going on. We just did what we can and just try to keep everyone as safe as we could. But they -- yes, just if they had come in, they could have caused so much destruction and just -- yes, it's a moment of -- I don't know something strange.
CABRERA: Jack, did you see police officers actually engage these suspects?
APPLEBEE (via telephone): We really didn't get to see it because we had the shutters down and --
CABRERA: OK. APPLEBEE (via telephone): -- we heard it. I mean, everyone was pretty frightened but we just tried to keep everyone as calm as we could.
CABRERA: James Gagliano, you're here with us. You're looking at these pictures. What do you see in that photo?
JAMES GAGLIANO, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Ana, what strikes me is it did not appear, and I know it's a grainy photo and I know we've enlarged it to get some of the detail, it does not appear to be what my understanding of the typically suicide vest it.
BERMAN: But it could be a black jacket. I mean, it could be a bullet-proof jacket right there.
GAGLIANO: It could be Kevlar, John. It also could be somebody who fashion pipe bombs or other explosive devices and hook them onto a tactical vest to throw them and to use them as opposed to a suicide vest.
BERMAN: Whatever it is, you can see why it looked threatening to Jack Applebee, again who is that eyewitness inside a restaurant who was able to shut the metal shutters outside and keep the patrons inside his restaurant safe for 90 minutes while there was police activity going on outside.
CABRERA: And, Jack, I'm curious what's happening there were you are right now. Is it still an active scene? Are police talking to you and the folks in your restaurant?
APPLEBEE (via telephone): I managed to hail down a taxi. And then all the staff, everyone got to a safe spot and we managed to get a taxi back. I'm in the restaurant now. We just saw -- we managed to get down there and just saw (INAUDIBLE). But, yes, we are -- everyone in the restaurant has been safe and thank God for that. I mean, if anything had happened, it would have been 10 times worse. But luckily for us, they moved on. They never came in.
CABRERA: So did police help to evacuate your restaurant then?
APPLEBEE (via telephone): The police have actually aid the restaurant and they got the shutters up. But obviously, it was all clearly rushed because, well, what we thought was bombs there, so yes.
CABRERA: What did police tell you as they were evacuating folks?
APPLEBEE (via telephone): They just told us put our hands on our heads and move quick. They gave me back the keys and told everyone to go. I just sort of -- I ran upstairs and told everyone to get out and then everyone was just sort of -- I tried to do it calmly but the police wanted to get it done quite quickly. But I was trying to just not panic everyone really.
CABRERA: OK, Jack Applebee, thank you so much for joining us and for sharing your perspective and describing for us what you saw and trying to add some context to these pictures and to this incident that police say is still unfolding right now. We appreciate your time and we hope you'll stay safe.
BERMAN: Really, a harrowing account of what it must been like to see everything happening right in front of you. And again imagine being inside a restaurant with the shutters down for a full 90 minutes not be able to look outside to know your safe.
Joining us now, CNN Senior Law Enforcement Analyst, Former FBI Assistant Director Tom Fuentes. Kimberly Dozier also with us as well.
Tom Fuentes, we've been listening to this eyewitness, Jack Applebee, who worked at a restaurant there and got a good look at someone who appears to be one of the assailants. And we just a saw photo. We're looking at it right now of at least one man on the ground. You know, we can't -- I can't tell by looking at it right now exactly what he is wearing but Jack Applebee and then people with him in that restaurant said it looked like a vest, it looked like something that was very, very threatening, Tom.
[21:10:05] TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, certainly it appears that way John. But, you know, I've seen many suicide vests, I've never seen one look exactly like those particular one with those throwable canisters or what that are attached around his belt. We don't know.
One thing about ballistic body armor, I think most Americans don't realize United States is one of the only countries in the world that allows private citizens to purchase and possess ballistic body armor. So, in addition to firearms, body armor is rare in the hands of civilians in the United Kingdom as well. But we just can't tell. And the other question that I would have with this, where is this guy now? Was he taken into custody, taken to a hospital, taken to the police headquarters? What happened to him and what do they know about him if they have them in custody? Have they identified him and his nationality or ethnicity or any other pertinent identifying information?
So, we still have so many questions that need to be answered just about the individuals who carried out the attack.
BERMAN: Well, I will say, Tom, I'm sorry, one thing that we do know is that the London officials are officially calling these terror incidents right now. The Mayor of London says this was a deliberate and cowardly attack on the innocent. The Metropolitan police again calling it a twin pair of terror incidents.
So they know something, they know enough to be confident enough to make those public statements which they would not make I think if there was a degree of uncertainty. Is that correct?
FUENTES: No. Well, John, in order to make a statement like that, what they want to do is rule out that if something other -- like the Times Square incident last month where it's somebody that's either deranged or drunk or on drugs and it's basically an accidental type of event as opposed to once it's deliberate. And they could pretty well established that they think this was deliberate by the car going back and forth aiming at people and now stabbing incident on purpose, at that point, they can call it terrorism without having the exact identity of the individual or the exact terror group allegiance of the individuals responsible.
CABRERA: So, Tom, when we just talking with Jack Applebee again, he saw this individual. He actually thought he saw three individuals were wearing this vest. And while we've zoomed in to part of the picture showing one person on the ground to get a better look at what may be on his body, there was in the same picture another person on the opposite side of the street with another police officer standing over him. So, it appears at least that this -- in this picture that there are two individuals who are on the ground that police had some contact with.
We know that this is all picture happening in the area, in the Borough Market area. This is of course nearby where that stabbing incident took place that we have heard about from eyewitnesses on the ground and that police have confirmed that they had responded to as well.
One thing that was interesting to me Tom, that Jack was describing was that he heard multiple bangs what he believed were gunshots but they were several minutes if not more apart. Does that give you any additional information in terms of what may have been going on?
FUENTES: Not really. It could easily be that they were doing building clearing exercises in the area trying to make sure there weren't more of these individuals hiding within a building, in a closet or workroom or something, and then using stun grenades or, you know, diversionary device as they perform their entry. So bang the door, throw the grenade in, it goes off and then they assault the room and see if anybody is inside. So, it could be that they were using that type of devices -- those type of devices to do building searches. We don't know that. It could be gunshots as well. So we don't know that either.
The other thing that, you know, according to Jack, that timeline, these photos would have occurred several hours ago as of right now.
FUENTES: And we still heard nothing from the police of whether they took --
FUENTES: -- anybody into custody or identified anybody yet, because he described these individuals were out on the sidewalk and then he and the patrons were locked down for another 90 minutes, then the police came and got them out of the building. So really, you're looking at about photographs that are at least two hours old of these individuals on the sidewalk.
CABRERA: And yet, Tom, we just had in the last half hour a statement coming from the Mayor of London in which he says, "This situation is still unfolding and I would ask all Londoners and visitors to our city to remain calm and vigilant."
FUENTES: Well, they don't know how many people might be involved in this. So if they've take two or three into custody, and if one or more of them have commented at all to the police about, you know, how many of them are involved in this, then they could be searching out city for days on end, you know, to try to find additional people involved in this.
BERMAN: We just got a new update from the London Metropolitan Police. Let me just read this out loud as it just appeared in front of me.
[21:15:01] On the 3rd of June at 2208 hours, that's 10:08 London time, officers responded to reports of a vehicle in collision with pedestrians on London Bridge. Officers have then responded to reports of stabbings in Borough Market. Armed officers responded and shots have been fired. Officers subsequently responded to an incident in the Vauxhall area.
June 4th, at just after 12:25 a.m., again that's London time, the incidents at London Bridge and Borough Market were declared as terrorist incidents. The incident at Vauxhall was a stabbing and is not believed to be connected to the other two incidents. They say, "We'll release facts as we can. Our info must be accurate. We urge the public to remain calm, be alert and vigilant. To anyone near an incident, our advice is run, hide, tell."
Again, that's the latest update from the Metropolitan Police. It doesn't shed too much light on that except to verify that shots were fired which I think is the first time the London Police flat out said that.
CNN Global Affairs Analyst, Kimberly Dozier is with us as well. And Kimberly, the timing of this just days before a general election in London is something that I think people are very concerned about it. And also, I think questions are going to be raised. It was just last week that the terror alert level in the United Kingdom hat was raised to the highest level it's been in 10 years and then lowered one notch. Look, it's still severe, that's still a very high level, but they did lower it just a week ago from its highest degree of alertness. What do you make of that?
KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, that U.K. security forces have been moving in. And according to a U.S. official I've heard from, they thought that they were closing in on the network. They've made some key arrests in Paris and other parts of Europe connected to the network. I didn't -- wasn't able to confirm whether there sure it was either inspired or directed but they're still working on that incident when this one pops up. How this is going to affect the British public, how it's going to influence them to vote, I'm really not certain.
One thing I have heard from US. .officials is that they are working closely with their British partners already, working closely with interagency partners here. And the Department of Homeland Security spokesman told me that Secretary Kelly has been informed, is watching this. And from what they've heard from their British partners at this point, there is no credible threat of terrorism in the United States related to this attack. Of course they had a caveat for that. They said, at this time
So right now, they are trying to assist their British partners in tracking down whoever these suspects were, whoever the network was that may have supported them and also looking at are there any ties to other cities in Europe, to the United States or back to the Middle East?
CABRERA: And Kimberly Dozier, we did hear from the President of the United States tonight in a couple of tweets. Just in the last couple of hours, he first wrote, "Whatever the United States can do," -- that was the second tweet. The first was, "We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Back as an extra level of safety." He followed that up about eight minutes later writing, "Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the U.K., we will be there. We are with you. God bless."
How closely are these two agencies, not agencies but really countries and their intelligence agencies working in a situation like this? Are they sharing information immediately or is there some lag time? Do you know?
DOZIER: Well, British intelligence and U.S. intelligence are about as close as it gets. I mean Britain and the US are part of the Five Eyes, the group of nations that share intelligence as if they were one and the same. Actually, when you go to a British intelligence facility like GCHQ, their version of NSA, U.S. intelligence officers can walk around there as freely as they can their own facilities. That's how close they are. That's how much trust there is.
However, some of that trust got dented after the Manchester attack when some of the information that the U.K. shared with the U.S. and then the U.S. shared with its various agencies, so that law enforcement here knew what to look for, well apparently, that was got to get to the media. So, there is a little bit of a dent in that trust. But right now, they seem to be in lockstep working together, sharing intelligence.
BERMAN: Hey, guys, just standby for one minute. James Gagliano is here with us, former FBI Special Agent. And James, we've all been working our sources. You've been talking to some people, some counterterrorism analysts inside law enforcement. We've had a chance to look at these photos that we've been looking at on the screen right now and maybe offering some perspective as to what we're seeing.
GAGLIANO: John, there are some conflicting views on this. There are some that look at this and say they have been certain suicide vest that have been built or constructed in this manner. Others look at this and had my initial reaction was it does not appear to be the standard type of suicide vest that were used to seeing.
[21:20:11] What I think is interesting about this photo, you would never approach a subject like that who had a suicide vest on unless the subject was dead. And even in that sense, if his armed with a detonator in his hand, you -- even if he had been shot by London police, sometimes you have a sympathetic response when you've shot where you squeeze off something after the fact.
So, this is a very brave individuals who is right there, who is moving in on him. He either knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that is not a suicide vest or that individual on the ground is dead, because to be in that position with that amount of explosives, if those are packets of C-4 or some other type of explosive device, I would had that whole city block perimeter off --
GAGLIANO: -- and kept everyone out of there until you could send a dog in to determine whether or not that that was an explosive device.
CABRERA: And what you point out to is interesting and the standpoint when you look at the hands of these officers who are standing over him, they don't have a gun pointing directly at that person on the ground. Neither officer seems to be in a position of fearing for themselves.
GAGLIANO: Sure. And there is a page in the ISIS or the Islamic terrorist playbook which is this, a lot of times when you recruit folks like this whether it's, you know, off the internet or if somebody travels over to Syria or to Iraq and gets radicalized, you're not certain if they're willing to commit themselves to martyrdom. So if you were wearing an explosive device, you would somebody close by that actually held onto the detonator, that in the event that he did not -- if he didn't have the requisite of "fortitude" to go through with the attack, they would explode. And that's why you wouldn't see him with a detonator in his hand.
Just looking at this, it looks like two responding first responders that close to him and they're just looking at it. Like I said, there's a number of folks that I've spoken to that said not looks like a vest. And other folks who look at it and said, "No, it doesn't look like the typical that we're accustomed seeing. It looks more like a tactical vest with maybe some devices hanging off of it."
BERMAN: To be clear, what we're trying to do right now is take a look at these pictures. We're just getting a look at right now and tell you what we see, what our experts see as they look at these two men on the ground. What we believe is that these two people on the ground, on the forefront and the background, maybe assailants connected to these terror attacks in London overnight. Again, a van mowing down people on London Bridge and then a stabbing incident in the nearby Borough Market.
Two men on the ground right now. Eyewitnesses told us they saw a vest on them. We do not know what those vests are. Were they suicide vest? Were they tactical vest? Were they some kind of body armor? That is what we are trying to determine right now. New details coming in. I will be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [21:27:08] CABRERA: A breaking news at this hour, coming from overseas in London, you are looking at pictures right now that we have just in to CNN. Two men on the ground with law enforcements towering over them. Those men are wearing vest and we just spoke with an eyewitness on the scene there who believe that these could be the assailants involved in two separate terror incidents near London Bridge. One of them happening around 10:00 local time, and that was several hours ago now. And this began in London.
Another in an unfolding at the Borough Market which is just near the London Bridge. And in that incident, there was a stabbing, at least a couple of people according to eyewitnesses who they saw stabbed one woman, a waitress stabbed in the neck, another person who was stabbed in the back. Official all night have been calling this an ongoing incident and have not confirmed whether or not they have assailants in custody. But you do see two people on the ground with law enforcement standing over them.
I want to bring in CNN Senior International Correspondent Fred Pleitgen and CNN International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson who are both on scene. Fred, we'll start with you. It's quieted down quite a bit where you are compared to what we saw behind you earlier this evening with all the flashing lights. What are you learning now?
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you're absolutely right, Ana. It has quieted down somewhat. However, there is still a bit of police activity that is going on. I'm going to get out of your way once again and you can see that there are still -- there is that police cordon back there were, a little fewer vans than they were before. We have seen some of police officers sort of move around, change location, armed police officers with the automatic weapon I would say about 10 to 15 minutes ago. And then intermittently, we keep hearing these loud bangs. We're not exactly clear on what that is. I know you guys have been talking about that on air as well.
I want to show you guys a little where we are. We're about 80 maybe to 100 yards away from the actual scene where all this happened from London Bridge itself. That's where the cordon is. And if you zoom out a little bit, you can see that iconic skyscraper here in London, The Shard, and that's exactly where the Borough Market is. So you're absolute right, the two areas where this incident happened are very, very close to one another.
So what we've had here is that most of the people who were in those areas, both the Borough Market but also the area where the initial attack took place, they all fled right here through the street. We were actually on hand when many people really ran out of that area, some of them holding their hands over their heads to make sure the police officers wouldn't mistake them for people who might be a suspect or something like that.
And now it has quieted down somewhat but there still is a sort of main entry checkpoint from where the police is moving their assets in and out of that area as the investigation is now moving forward. And again, you're absolutely right. It's quieted down somewhat but unclear whether or not this incident is over.
BERMAN: All right, Fred, standby. I want to bring in CNN International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson. He's got a different perspective on the scene. Nic, what are you seeing?
[21:30:05] NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, John, we're at sort of the outer perimeter of that cordon. I would say perhaps about half a mile to a mile from the Borough Market. What Fred was describing to you and showing you, The Shard, that tall glass triangular building, that is immediately to my left. I'm looking at it right here. So we're a little bit around the cordon from where Fred is.
The police activity here again has settled down somewhat. The cord on here has been moved back again, a little bit more than where we were before. The main thoroughfare behind, the road at the main intersection behind me, that we continue to see activity. There are police vehicles moving up and down. We know a lot of police vehicles are parked there. We occasionally see an ambulance. And that road there leads immediately to Borough Market.
So that is -- the police operation here continues to be described to us as an ongoing operation. If I can, let me just bring in our terrorism analyst, Paul Cruickshank here for a second.
Paul, we were talking before about what we're learning the similarities between this attack on the Westminster attack, a vehicle use, a stabbing following on. What conclusions, what can be learned from what we're seeing?
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Yes. I mean, strikingly similar that there was this vehicle attack and then stabbings and that's exactly what we saw with this Westminster attack. In March, there were a sort of multiphase attack. And that's exactly what ISIS in their propaganda magazines are instructing their followers in the west to do, to launch these vehicle truck/car attacks first, then to get out of the vehicles and with either guns or knives, with whatever weapons that they can get hold of to carry on attacking until the police take them out. And --
ROBERTSON: Is it -- can I ask you a question here? And we've seen -- and I'm asking this because we had the Westminster attack about two months ago, then the Manchester attack within the past couple of weeks. Is this in the ISIS propaganda to have one attack and then sort of build momentum like this? Is this -- is it is it copycat? Is this what they inspire people to do? Is this -- do you get a sense that we can learn something, that there is a building -- a momentum here in these attacks?
CRUICKSHANK: They know this is a weakness here in the west that you can't stop cars getting through, trucks getting through. People can go out and use their own vehicle, rent a vehicle. This is a real weakness. And they saw with the Nice attack which they inspired, they didn't direct that attack where they managed to -- though the attacker in that case managed to kill 86 people in the south of France, and in December in Berlin, a Tunisian extremist, Anis Amri killed 12 people. He was actually in touch with ISIS in Libya. And it's possible that same group ISIS in Libya may have had some connection with the Manchester attack, and police are looking into that. Intelligence services are looking into that.
But all of these at a time where there is really a lot of concern about the threat here in the U.K. Official telling it to the highest when it comes to Islamist terrorist and the whole history of this country. We have a election coming up here very soon in Paris. We saw an attack against police on the Champ-Elysees just before the election. It's also the holy month of Ramadan and ISIS have historically instructed their followers to surge attacks during Ramadan, telling them they'll get extra rewards in the afterlife. And so, there's a lot of concern as we move forward now.
ROBERTSON: So looking at this attack from what we've seen in the past from the number of known potential terrorist threats in the U.K., those recent attacks potentially having connections to ISIS, perhaps not direct, perhaps inspired by the internet parole (ph) perhaps directed. We don't have details yet here. But based on percentages, based on analysis, is it likely that this attack today could have -- could be connected to the Manchester attack or could be at least inspired or connected in some way with ISIS or similar?
CRUICKSHANK: Well, it's early stages as you say, and there's been no claim of responsibility of any sort. And even when you get those claims of responsibility, they're very opportunistic and often don't really provide any evidence that there was any real connection between the terrorist group on the one side and the attacker or attackers on the other side.
ROBERTSON: As with the Westminster attack.
CRUICKSHANK: So, you know, even if ISIS goes ahead and claims something, you know, were they really connected to this attack? And we'll have to ask the question. We haven't seen that kind of claim coming out yet.
But certainly in terms of the playbook, what are pressing their sympathizers in the West to do, this is really very much out of that playbook in terms of a multiphase attack using a truck or a car and then carrying on through with weapons to really kind of make the thing lost longer. You get a big media impact that way.
[21:35:06] That's what they want to do. They want to change the conversation away from the fact they are losing ground in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, other places in the world. This is about pure and naked revenge when it comes to ISIS in terms of the wave of terrorism they're trying to inspire in Europe. It remains to be seen whether they had any connection to this attack. But given the details we're hearing, certainly the whole months (ph).
ROBERTSON: So what will they have learned, what were the attackers -- these attackers have learned from watching the other operations, the police operations in Manchester and with Westminster? Will there be -- is there a potential for other cells? We saw it after the Manchester attack a number of arrests continuing. We've heard talk about the possibility that the attackers were wearing the possibility of suicide vest. It's absolutely not clear at the moment. But if that does, that raises a spectrum of bomb factories. What are we looking at with the counterterrorism effort if that's the case?
CRUICKSHANK: We're looking at a threat that this country when it comes to Islamist terrorism really hasn't faced before. There was a big threat from IRA terrorism back in the '70s and decades afterwards of course. But when it comes to this Islamist terrorist right in the years after 9/11, we're right at the maximum here. They system is really blinking rise.
There are 3000 individuals that they are monitoring here in the U.K. that have Islamist extremist views that are potentially dangerous they think. There are about 20,000 people over the years since 9/11. They've looked at, been worried about for the same reasons that pose a residual threat. That's a huge number. We see those huge numbers also in France. We see them in other European countries. We see a constant now where there are tens of thousands of people who pose a potential danger.
Now, it also needs to be emphasized that the vast, vast majority of Muslims in this country and across Europe are absolutely horrified by this violence that they are speaking out in large volumes against this. Many of them are taking risks. You and I have been reporting on this, people in the community who are working to deradicalize, working to take people away from this violent ideology.
And what the government here needs to do with many people I think is to really empower this Muslim community, the majority, the vast majority who want to wipe this scourge really off the face of the earth because they see it really as a threat to that religion.
ROBERTSON: And what the government is going to face in the next few hours? Prime Minister Theresa May sits down in the Cobra meeting, the cabinet office briefing room with the top security officials. What will she be hearing from them? We know after the Manchester attack, it was after the second Cobra meeting, let's say 18 hours after the attack, almost 20 hours or so after the attack. The Prime Minister saw the threat level raise to critical. Will she be considering that again? What is she going to be hearing from those officials?
CRUICKSHANK: You have to think that there's going to be serious consideration to raise us back up to critical now tomorrow morning. It seem the first question she is going to ask is, "Is this over? Is the threat over? Has this being contained?" Nothing we're hearing tonight suggests this thing is over, that they feel that they have got everybody in custody. They have everything accounted for. There's got to be a worry that there could be other people connected to these individuals.
If they are indeed as has been reported, three individuals we're talking about a cell involved planning this in the U.K., a cell which may have a network of other associates. In the hours ahead, I think we can expect our police to make raise arrests as they find out the identities of who perpetrated this, Nic. And really, you know, this is going to be a massive effort right across London. ROBERTSON: Paul, I'm just going to interrupt you there. I just heard another boom coming from the direction of Borough Market. Again, it's not clear what these booms are but I think that's the fourth one we've heard, Fred heard too before, we've heard too here this morning. And as Paul was saying, we can expect those raise to come and the basis that Theresa May raise the threat level after the Manchester attack up to that maximum level, meaning an attack was imminent. The critical level was based on the assessment that the possibility of other attackers not under the surveillance of counterterrorism authorities, under the surveillance of the intelligence services or police, meaning that there was a potential for attack.
So this is obviously going to be the meeting for the Prime Minister in the few hours time. This is going to be her maximum concern. Does this mean another threat? It is so imminent that the threat level must be raised. On it, John.
[21:39:58] BERMAN: Right. Nic Robertson for us on the scene with Paul Cruickshank. Nic, thank you so much. Again, it's 2:39 a.m. London time and there is still a great deal of police activity on the street. The fact that Nic just heard yet another explosion, a loud bang. We've been hearing them too as we listen. They don't appear to be gunshots. It could very well be some kind of tactical blast that can be used as a diversion. We just don't know what's going.
What we do know from the London Mayor as he puts it is the situation is still unfolding. A twin pair of terrorist incidents in London. New developments coming in by the minute. We're going to take a quick break. Will be right back.
[21:44:54] BERMAN: All right, John Berman here with Ana Cabrera. Let's bring you up to speed about what's happening in London right now. Two incidents there being treated as terrorism. London's ambulance service said it transported 20 people to six different hospitals. And now we have a new image of what we're told is one of the attackers. We're going to show you a picture right now. You can see for yourself a man on the ground there in London outside a pub, that's outside a row of restaurants in Borough Market, which is a busy, vibrant overnight neighborhood right next to London Bridge. As of right now, we do not know the condition of this man or frankly whether he is dead or alive.
CABRERA: Now, it was on that street around 10:00 London time, so about five and a half hours ago witnesses described what appears to be a coordinated attack on the city. At least two people stabbed inside a restaurant at Borough Market and a van mowing down people walking along London Bridge. Many eyewitnesses tell us they heard gunshots. British Prime Minister Theresa May calling these attacks terrible and she has directed the London Police to treat them as acts of terrorism.
BERMAN: And again, now, new developments. Just in, a hospital in London currently on lockdown. Guy's and St. Thomas' Hospital says, "Due to the ongoing incident in Central London, it is on lockdown to keep patients, relative and staff save." Will bring you the details as they come in.
Joining us now, CNN Global Affairs Analyst, David Rohde. David joins us right now to talk about really which is an unbelievable string of events in London, the third attack in England. In just the last few months, there was a Manchester, you know, attack at the concert. Not a week and a half ago, the attack on Westminster Bridge in March. London, England, this is a country in a city that it feels in some ways, David, under siege.
DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: It does. It's the terminus of the series of attacks in France. There's sort of -- I mean, there's so many unknowns here. The big thing to me is how many attackers were involved. And, you know, was this homegrown and amateurs? Were they sort of -- were these vests didn't go off? You know, that's very different from a well-planned attack as this one in Manchester where they killed 22 people.
The "New York Times" reported today that the young man, Salman Abedi, who carried out that attack actually met with members of the Islamic State in Libya. And that's concerning because he was not caught. You know, the communications weren't picked up. And then beyond that even as ISIS' territory shrinks this chapter they have in Libya, it was linked to this London attack. There was a link also to the attack in Paris that went there, and also the truck that was driven into civilians in Berlin all links to Libya. We don't know any of that in terms of the attack. This could be homegrown and very unsophisticated.
CABRERA: And right now, we don't even know how many attackers there could be.
CABRERA: We heard from one of the eyewitnesses who believed he saw three men wearing some kind of vest. He described them as what he thought could be suicide vest. That again still left to be determined but we did see at least two people on the ground in the picture. This one is zoomed in shot there on the right hand of your screen. But in that same photo that we pull out, you can see two people, another person on the other side of the street with another individual standing over somebody else on the ground.
Now, people around the world, leaders, are responding to this incident. We heard from President Trump earlier. We just got a statement from the French President saying, "Now France stands more than ever at Britain's side." This is from President Emmanuel Macron following the attack that happened. And he says, "In the face of this new tragedy, France is more than ever at Britain's side. My thoughts go out to the victims and their loved ones."
And as look back over the last year even, there had been multiple attacks by vehicle, one of them happening there in Nice, France. That was in July of 2016 where Bastille Day fireworks display, a man drives a 20-ton rental truck into the crowd there striking and killing at least 84 people. And then since that incident, there was an attack, a similar attack at Ohio State University. Eleven 11 people were injured with a car and a knife attack we had in December, a Tunisian man driving a tractor-trailer into a Christmas market in Berlin. And then of course we've talked about it here in London, the Westminster attack that happened at Westminster Bridge towards the House of the Parliament where the car crashed near the Parliament and at least one man armed with a knife tried to enter Parliament.
James Gagliano, five attacks using a vehicle, acts of terror in Europe, the United States, is this a new normal?
GAGLIANO: This is absolutely the new normal. And if we in law enforcement especially in the west don't adjust, the terrorists are one step ahead of us right now. And as Paul Cruickshank pointed out earlier, as we start to take territory away from them in the Middle East, they are freeing up resources that no longer have to hold ground. Those resources are now committed to help out in this effort, in this jihad against us.
And that's why I believe you're not going to see another 9/11 3000 casualties in a span of a few hours. But if you aggregate the attacks that you just talked about, 86, 12, 5, 17, 6, you should begin to aggregate these, Ana, you're going to start approaching those numbers. And that's a victory for them.
[21:50:05] Remember, they don't have to -- they don't have to own territory to be victorious. They have to keep us off balance and living in fear. That's a victory to them.
BERMAN: And again, the one piece of new information we're getting in just minutes ago, the ambulance service on London saying they have transported some 20 people to local hospitals there. The specificity of what they said, they were talking about the attack on the bridge. We don't know if that includes the bridge and the stabbing incident at the nearby restaurant. But at least 20 people transported to local hospitals. At this point, we do not know their conditions and this has been going on now for, what, four or five hours right now. It's a long time not to know the condition of the victims involved here. We are waiting for that information.
We're joined by CNN Global Affairs Analyst. Kimberly Dozier is with us. And Kimberly, your reporting is fascinating on this. We were talking what was happening at the wake of the Manchester attack about a week and a half ago and your information is that the British officials thought they were closing in on these cells, one of the complete cell that carried out that attack. They don't know if it's connected to what we're looking at tonight, but it does show that breadth of what's going on there.
DOZIER: Well, yes, they thought they were closing in on key figures. They had traced some ISIS training and involvement. I was trying to determine whether or not they figured out if this was inspired or directed. Can't get an answer to that. But they didn't feel like they've made some successful arrests.
Now, they've got what looks like a new cell, a new operation which could be unrelated to the Manchester one, and that means a whole new iteration of investigation. The Department of Homeland Security has been in touch with its British counterparts and says that there is no specific credible threat to the U.S. from the London attacks today. But they say that at this time, one U.S. official told me that, "Look, it's just the start of Ramadan, the holy Muslim month where ISIS and other militant groups have called for attacks." He predicted that there could be another attack somewhere in the west before the month is done.
CABRERA: And we know there is going to be this Manchester benefit concert scheduled for tomorrow. Ariana Grande also tweeting tonight praying for London. James Gagliano, if you are to advise what to do in Manchester tomorrow, should the show go on?
GAGLIANO: The Ariana Grande benefit concert is going to be what we consider a hardened target. Everybody knows the eyes of the world are going to be on that target. And the London police, the Manchester police, all these state local folks are going to helping on the law enforcement and they will have that appropriately covered. That's not what I would fear.
And again, I'm not saying to dismiss it, I'm not saying that terrorists somewhere somehow aren't looking at this, but it's the soft targets, it's the place where you just think, "Hey, listen, there's just 30 people gathered together in a park, what can I do there? Or there's a supermarket, or there's a storefront, let me do something there." Because again, they are looking at the aggregate casualties. They don't need that huge splash. They're going to get enough of a splash by the fear and terror that caused by their actions.
BERMAN: It's so interesting. And David Rohde is with us as well. Again, there was supposed to be this concert which in some ways a show of solidarity, a show of strength in the face of terror. That concert is supposed to be in Manchester. We don't know at this point if Ariana Grande or the officials of Manchester will still go on with this concert. It's got to be a wrenching decision I imagine for them because, look, I mean, you want to keep and carry on. That's what Brits like to do. That's what their proud of doing.
CABRERA: They don't want the terrorists to win.
ROHDE: Knowing how we would react, I mean, we don't know what's happened here. We don't know the number of deaths. We don't know the specification of this attack. And, you know, you think the concert should go on because that's what they want. What they want are these headlines. They want, you know, people to react to this. There will be political thoughts.
ROHDE: Absolutely. It's a victory for them that we've been frankly sitting here for hours talking about, you know, this attack. It's a difficult situation. And I guess I would point to France where, you know, there will be more attacks, but the attacks have slowed down. The French sort of went on with their lives. They had, you know, a much higher casualty and much higher numbers than the British attack so far. And I think over time, I think the British law enforcement will get their arms around this.
BERMAN: David Rohde, you did bring up an interesting subject, that is worthy of discussion right now. And to some extent, when terrorists carry out attacks like this, what they are looking for is attention. So people will often ask, "Well, why do you cover? Why are you even talking about it since this is giving them exactly what they want?" Look, this isn't a decision any of us enter into lightly, but obviously there's an ongoing incident. There's a public safety aspect of this for the people of London right now who want to know where they can go that will be save, and for everyone around the world who knows people in London. You want to know if your loved ones are safe.
Obviously here in New York City, police are monitoring this as well because they want to know if this city is safe from incidents like this. You know, it -- again, it's a tough decision but there is also value in making clear what's going on.
[21:55:05] CABRERA: And Kimberly Dozier who is also with us. You know, what's interesting is we've been trying to get more information. We've only received eight lines of information from the law enforcement in London. The Met police sending out a few tweets overnight during the course of their investigation as this incident has been unfolding.
The first one coming not long after it happened. It says, and I read it in a tweet, "From 2208 hours on the 3rd of June, officers responded to reports of a vehicle in collision with pedestrians on London Bridge." And it says, "Officers had been responded to report to stabbings in Borough Market. Armed officers responded and shots have been fired." Then, "Officers have subsequently respondent to an incident in the Vauxhall area, Vauxhall are."
And then shortly after midnight, local time on June 4th, "The incidents at London Bridge and Borough Market were declared as terrorist incidents. The incident at Vauxhall is a stabbing, not believe connected to the other two incidents." And then says, "We will release facts when we can. Our info must be accurate. We urge the public to remain calm but be alert and vigilant. To anyone near an incident, out advice is run, hide, tell." That's all they have put out in nearly five hours.
Kimberly Dozier, is that typical of the British law enforcement and intelligence to keep very close to the vest the information as they are investigating, or this being treated differently in a sign of something else?
DOZIER: This is out absolutely typical. They want to preserve the element of surprise. Look, right now, they've got a situation that is we don't know if it's still evolving. They may still be looking for suspects in that area that they've cordoned off a large part of London. That could mean house to house searches. We can't get in there so we don't know exactly what's going on.
But if they have suspects in hand and that person on the ground wearing the vest would indicate they have at least one person whose forensics they can run, they can try to identify them, they want to try to round up anyone associated with those people, and before they have a chance to flee the country or before a name has a chance to leak. That's why British officials were so upset right after the Manchester bombing when the name of the suspect leaked because they hadn't finished rounding up anyone they thought might be associated to the man.
So right now, they're -- they've got this tension between, you know, yes, they want to share with their partners, the U.S. especially, but they also want to hold some things back because capturing the people who might be staging future attacks is their priority right now.
CABRERA: All right, Kimberly Dozier, stay with us. We need to squeeze in a quick break. We are following breaking news right now in London. A stabbing attack and a van plowing into pedestrians on a crowded London Bridge as investigators continued their investigation and hunt for potential assailants. We are staying on top of the latest details coming out of London. Stay with CNN.